Derek Hunter

On Tuesday, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., revealed their budget plan to the world. I would say it was immediately met with complaints, but those complaints started before it was introduced. Is it perfect? Absolutely not. But are there other plans? No.

Outside groups called for opposing it before they’d read it, Members of Congress said they’d vote against it before they knew what was in it. I’d like to take these people with me to buy lottery tickets since they seem to have some form of clairvoyance.

I get the anger of conservatives, I’m right there with them. But there comes a point when you have to accept reality. Reality won’t change simply because you wish it to be different. You have to accept what is and work to make it what you want.

As strong as Republicans’ position is in the polls right now, polls don’t matter at this point. The election is too far away. Democrats won’t do what is best for the country right now because they don’t have to.

Buy when we get closer to the election, things could change. Today, it looks like Republicans are in great shape to retain the House and perhaps to retake the Senate. But if there’s one thing Republicans excel at it is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, and many are positioning themselves to do just that.

There’s a time for drawing a line and there’s a time to be strategic, and now is a time to be strategic.

The Democrats are on the defensive over the continued failures of Obamacare and are desperate to change the subject. A major budget battle or a fight over extending unemployment benefits not only would change the subject, it would hurt Republicans. And when your opponent is out of ammunition you don’t rearm them. Yet that’s what many of these groups and members are poised to do if they vote these issues down.

The budget deal is not good. It’s not conservative. We all wish it could be better. But nothing better is coming out of this Congress. Republicans need to swallow hard and take the deal.

Republicans have a choice: Fund the government, raise the debt ceiling and extend unemployment benefits past the election or spend time before the election fighting – and losing – those battles rather than pointing out the failures of Obamacare. It can’t be both.

Call me a squish if you like, but anything positive that happens will be credited to President Obama, not only because he’ll take the credit but because the media will give it to him. Republicans could pass a budget that facilitates the creation of 10 million jobs and the stories would be “President Obama Creates 10 Million Jobs.” That’s not only bias; that’s the power of the presidency.

This, in turn, would help Democrats even though it was done with a Republican budget. But a Republican/conservative budget simply isn’t going pass with the Democrats controlling the Senate and Barack Obama in the White House.

Republicans have to accept that fact and work with in it.

They can either basically extend what we have now (which the Ryan/Murray plan essentially does, outside of a few minor changes), raise the debt limit till December 2014 and extend unemployment benefits, or spend the next year being beaten about the head and neck for causing a government shutdown, trying to force a default and not caring about the poor.

Is doing these things now ideal? Absolutely not. But is it strategically smart? Absolutely.

And we all know they’re going to happen anyway because Democrats have demonstrated a willingness to take the country to the brink to get their way. These points are minor in the grand scheme of things, and all are ripe to be changed in the next Congress.

I don’t call for it often, or lightly, but Republicans should punt here. There’s nothing that can’t be changed; in fact, nothing that won’t have to be changed because these are all temporary. A strategic defensive move now will keep Republicans on the offensive through the election.

I’d even consider throwing in raising the minimum wage, but over a longer time horizon. Without that, Democrats really have nothing but their usual charges – that Republicans are racist, sexist, homophobes – but those no longer carry the weight they used to with voters, especially in Obama’s economy. Democrats love and effectively play the victim card, but an unemployed or underemployed victim is concerned about being unemployed first.

And let’s not pretend Republicans probably won’t cave on the minimum wage eventually anyway. Take it off the table.

Democrats have a set number of bats they use to beat up Republicans, and Republicans keep giving them those bats. But rarely do Republicans have a bat with which to hit back. Obamacare is a huge bat, perhaps the biggest they’ve ever had.

Barring a major event, the 2014 election is Republicans’ to lose. Arming the Democrats with their time-tested weapons will only allow them to stand a chance to win in November, whereas allowing them small victories now will leave them with nothing but the reality of the economy they’ve created, the health care system they’ve created. They can’t defend those.

It’s time to take away the noise, at least temporarily, and leave the emperor standing there with no clothes and an empty quiver. You don’t give him more arrows.

Derek Hunter

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist. You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.